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ESG and Tech: Everything in common!

8 minutes

What is ESG

ESG is an acronym that brings together actions, practices and work fronts related to the theme of Environment (E of Eenvironment), Social and Governance. This triad constitutes a set of corporate practices and principles that are already inescapable as a driver of investments, reputation and share of mind and hearts. The positive correlation between ESG performance (when executed strategically, holistically and genuinely) and a superior result in both financial and reputational terms has already been proven. Those papers da Harvard Business Review and Center for Sustainable Business at NYU explain this correlation in detail. It's that video from KPMG consultancy explains more succinctly what ESG is. Anyone who wants to take a quick course to dive a little deeper, I recommend it. this one of the consultancy, and Softplan partner, Deep ESG. 

Last year, Softplan began to delve deeper into this subject. Mapping the relevance of the company's impacts on its customers (the company's most important stakeholder alongside employees) is one of the multiple initiatives of an ESG program.

In a company like Softplan, where we consider ourselves "experts in translating knowledge and technology into solutions that simplify and impact the lives of thousands of people in Brazil and the world on a daily basis", permeate this knowledge in the development area (here considering product, design , software engineering and architecture) may perhaps be the most effective strategy to assert this statement.

We recently completed this mapping work for solutions that serve Public Sector customers, following this standard very strict Global Reporting Initiative

Impacts, facts and how ESG and Tech combine 

Speaking about Information Security, our "Jedi master" Alexandre Golin listed, in 2009, the 4 principles of the SAJ Courts at the time: Integrity, Authenticity, Non-repudiation and Irretroactivity (I would venture to say that there is a fifth hidden principle which is inviolability ). Since then, many concepts, practices and requirements have been improved, including here at Softplan. Currently, we are very proud to say that these four (or five) principles guide all of the company's solutions.

Well, Information Security, combined with Data Privacy, was considered a relevant impact by customers of all solutions for the public sector. In doubt about updating a certain application component? A lot of free courses came out DEVOPS and don't know what to do? Issues related to information security and data privacy will always be a safe haven. 

Let's not forget the 'E' in Environment, which is also all about Product, Design, Development and Architecture. Reducing carbon emissions is a relevant impact in practically all solutions. One thing that unites all Softplan solutions is the digitalization of processes and reduction of paper use. For example, 1Doc's motto is "Let's get it off the ground?". The balance in CO₂ emissions from replacing paper, in addition to everything that is not emitted by paper not being produced, transported, stored and discarded, by digital processes and their emissions resulting from the energy consumption of data centers and infrastructures is usually positive in more of 75%.

But what if I told you that in 2022 all the 92 courts in Brazil printed more than 500 million sheets of paper? This data comes from the Courts as a whole, which are not necessarily from the judicial area. It's a damn shame, right? But why do they still print so much paper if more than 90% of their collection is digital? Is it just because it's more comfortable? Probably not. Our designers have invested heavily in bringing greater ergonomics and comfort to our screens, to minimize the need for printing.

This subject offers a The roadmap giant of epics and stories e discoveries. And the result metrics are right here in front of us. More and more public bodies have sustainable logistics programs where paper consumption is measured. And for those who like behavioral economics, Here's a tip to insert that Nudge smart at the bottom of each page: “Not printing this paper prevented the deforestation of N trees”. 

Still within the 'E', DEVOPS/DBAs who manage data in the cloud, did you know that the company's consoles AWS allows the adoption of sustainability criteria? You can select more efficient regions (more performant and new machines, renewable energy source), implement “design that guarantees high utilization and maximizes energy efficiency of the underlying hardware” and use managed services. For those who don't know, it's a new world and, in most cases, sustainability will generate financial savings and operational efficiency. 

Softplan's operations in the public sector allow our solutions to have a direct impact on millions of people. In 2022, the external access portals of our solutions had an average volume of 4,3 billion queries and 3,2 million new processes/demands per month! Ensuring quality delivery to customers means greater prosperity, efficiency and well-being for society, which now has access to more efficient and better quality public services. But how so? 

Let's think about a Court of Justice: How do we measure the efficiency (oops, another Impact, and this perhaps the most important, within the 'S' of Social) of a Court? We know what the expected results of an efficient Court are. And we also know how our solution directly and indirectly contributes to these results. This knowledge, disseminated within the teams (to reiterate, our operating model requires knowledge and ownership at all functional levels of the end areas), provides a reference for both clients and us, of what to prioritize, what the pace of deliveries is and how Let's measure whether deliveries are bringing the expected results. 

And what does it matter for a Court of Justice? It needs to provide a channel for external users to consult and file lawsuits. Improving and expanding society's access to public bodies is also a mapped impact. This channel needs to have broad access (multiple services) and be agile (performative and with high availability). They realized that these characteristics, which have very objective metrics, already offer the drivers necessary for the grooming?

In terms of efficiency, we map a maximum of 4 indicators per solution. It was difficult (for us and for the customers), but focusing on the most important ones helps us think about big picture. In the case of Courts, one of the indicators measures stock variations from one year to the next, another indicator measures the duration of processes, another the capacity to meet demand (which is dynamic and depends on inputs) and another, Goal 2 of the CNJ, determines that older cases must be judged first. Here is a fantastic guide to encourage teams and customers to design and implement solutions that: reduce the stock of processes, prioritizing the oldest ones, within sustainable process durations and always connected to the benchmarking of Courts of the same size. For PMs and POs who love prioritization matrices, here's a full plate to score stories e tasks

This footprint works for all of our solutions! Let's think about SIDER, which digitizes numerous services within the structures of infrastructure secretariats and roads and highways departments. Here we also have the impact of citizens and companies’ access to these services. Access portals act as virtual service counters.

And how do you measure the level of this service? Firstly, the service needs to be available and broad, you have to be able to do everything there: consult, open demands, request and access information and documents and pay for things. Then, the service time of the main services can be evaluated. Here is the driver for the development! We need to expand access and reduce service time as much as possible. To do this, we also have to be aware of the regulatory framework of the bodies. Complying with this framework is also a relevant impact indicated by customers. You have to reduce time, respecting legal procedures, procedures and deadlines. 

As Softplan has national capillarity and expertise, here we can act in a network, as a hub, absorbing, feeding, feedback, transferring and sharing knowledge and good practices between bodies across the country. Pretty sure someone just correlated this with digital transformation. Well then, fostering digital transformation was considered a relevant impact on all of our solutions that serve the public sector. Here we expand the reach of ESG to resident, support, communication and relationship teams.  

Do you realize how ESG and you (fellow Dev, DBA, PM, PO, UXer and so on) have everything to do with each other? It's not simple, but it's also nothing out of this world. 

Summing up: 

  1. We need to define impacts and their indicators and metrics in a methodologically rigorous way, engaging customers and internal (and external) experts in a genuine way. 
  1. Collect and make data and evidence available in the form of indicators. 
  1. Use data as input, considering context and specificities. Do not underestimate the external environment, as it is complex and dynamic. 
  1. Permeate knowledge in the team. Encourage discussions and critical analysis. Always focus on big picture. What are the main impacts and indicators that move the needle? Focus on them as a priority. 
  1. Ensure that, over time, relevant impacts remain relevant and appropriate indicators remain appropriate. Return to first option. 

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